Not everyone agrees on what good pop music is, but I think we can all agree that the genre could sure use a lot more optimism in its general narrative right now. With things as crazy around the globe as they’ve ever been before, audiences are particularly dependent on musicians for a little shelter amid the stormy times we’re occupying – and that’s where Hewas comes in. The up and coming pop sensation is dropping a debut single this year in “Lemon” that offers listeners a touch of catharsis to combat the immense onslaught of grey skies that have recently overwhelmed the world. In “Lemon,” everything from the bass tones to the percussion, synthesized harmonies and vocal texture contributes to the story Hewas is trying to tell us with his words. He doesn’t resist the urge to get as poetic and expressive as his heart desires in this song, but at the same time, he’s careful to adhere to a conservative compositional structure that doesn’t leave any space for error. This is pop music for grownups, and it’s got a groove that almost anybody can get into.
The synthetic elements in “Lemon” and specifically its chorus harmony are really warm and inviting compared to the other content I’ve heard from the pop underground in the past year or two. There isn’t any tininess to the melodies here, nor does it ever feel as though Hewas is forcing the point. The first sixteen seconds of the song feel a little bit like a Ween reboot, but by the time we find the chorus, it’s clear that this artist is on an entirely different level of expression than Dean and Gene were back in the 80’s and 90’s. The vocal never has to battle for supremacy in the master mix; in fact, everything in this song sounds as though it’s been equalized as evenly as would be possible within a modern studio environment. This beat is what gives “Lemon” that punky edge that’s been missing from the realm of pop since the mid-2000s, and overall, I wouldn’t say that this single is as indebted to alternative music as it is the whimsy of pop/rock in general.
2020 has been awesome for artists with surreal influences, and though Hewas is a little different from the average surreal pop singer/songwriter, he’s absolutely involved – and perhaps an integral part – of an important revolution taking place in the American underground. “Lemon” doesn’t answer as many questions about his artistic drive as it poses; to some extent, I think this is just a teaser for what Hewas’ first full-length studio album is going to be crafted around. There’s still so much left for us to learn about this player, but if you’re in the market for a debut single you’re almost guaranteed to appreciate and respect this month, this would be one of my top picks without a doubt. I like what “Lemon” suggests about the man who brought it to life, and in time, it could be one of many classics bearing his name in the credits.
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